NEWS & ANALYSIS

My uncle has just become another statistic - Dirk Hermann

Open letter from Solidarity's deputy SG To President Jacob Zuma

Hermann sends letter to Zuma regarding farm murder number 1 647

Dear President Zuma,

My uncle's body was found in his home on his farm near Alma, outside Warmbaths. His hands were tied behind his back. So decomposed was the body that we still don't know how he was murdered. It appears that he was still alive when the murderers left his home. With his hands tied he died a lonely death.

My uncle is now a part of the statistics. He even has a number, number 1 647. This is according to a list the Transvaal Agriculture Union keeps of farmers who were murdered and of which they have record. The number may very well be higher.

What I find so distressing is that he is just another number in the statistics. He is now number 1 647, the number that comes before 1 648.  No shock waves are sent across the country because yet another farmer was murdered. He gets counted, that's all.

Something is profoundly wrong in a democracy when cold-blooded murders become normal.

I have personally delivered the letters of tens of thousands of South Africans to you expressing concern about crime. However, the murders continue. This time it is my uncle who was murdered, next time it will be another South African's uncle, brother, mother or sister.

I am still asking how high crime is really rated on the government's agenda. Are you really furious about the ghastly murders? Do you feel the pain we, the families who are left behind, feel?

The government's agenda is reflected in your state of the nation address. I am making an urgent appeal to you to give recognition in your address to the pain and suffering of families who will be listening to you in the absence of their loved ones.

I am appealing to you to communicate to us the government's serious intention about crime. I am appealing to you to turn intentions into action.

Violent crime is something all South Africans can mobilise against. However, we expect of the president to be the leader against this type of crime.

Mister Zuma, I will be listening to you in anticipation. We want to know where violent crime is on your agenda. Thousands of South Africans in pain will want to hear.

With gratitude

Dr. Dirk Hermann

Deputy Executive Head: Solidarity

Issued by Solidarity, February 9 2011

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